Irven Spence

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Irven Spence
Born Irven LeRoy Spence
(1909-04-24)April 24, 1909
Lincoln, Nebraska
Died September 21, 1995(1995-09-21) (aged 86)
Dallas, Texas
Occupation Animator
Spouse(s) Alice Amelia Hossfield
(January 15, 1931-June 6, 1984, death)
Children Darlene Saurette
(February 5, 1933-April 16, 1979)
Parent(s) Charles Harvey Spence
Annie Elizabeth Anderson

Irven LeRoy Spence (April 24, 1909 – September 21, 1995) was an American animator. He is best known for his work on MGM's Tom and Jerry animated shorts. Spence has been credited variously as Irven Spence, Irvin Spence, and Irv Spence.

Spence interest in drawing began in his youth, when he provided cartoons for his high school newspaper (along with classmate William Hanna. Spence's earliest animation work was for Charles B. Mintz's Winkler Pictures, and then for Ub Iwerks, where he worked on the "Flip the Frog" series.[1]

After Iwerks Studio folded in 1936, Spence worked at Leon Schlesinger Productions for several years as a member of Tex Avery's animation unit. He followed Avery to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after Avery left Schlesinger's over a disagreement. Spence provided animation for Avery's first three shorts at MGM, but soon moved over to the Hanna-Barbera unit. Spence's first Tom and Jerry credit was on The Yankee Doodle Mouse (1943), which received an Academy Award for Best Animated Short.

Spence left MGM in August 1956 for Animation, Inc.,[2] a commercial production studio, before joining his former bosses at Hanna-Barbera Productions seven years later.[3] He provided animation for many animated television series, including Jonny Quest (1964), Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles (1966), and The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show (1971).

In addition to his work for Hanna-Barbera, Spence also worked for Chuck Jones (1970's adaptation of Horton Hears a Who!), DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (Roland and Ratfink, the Ant and the Aardvark), and Ralph Bakshi (Coonskin, Wizards, and the 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings). Spence's last animation credit was on Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992). Spence also conducted a workshop for animators under the auspices of the Association of Motion Picture and TV Producers and Cartoonists Local 839.[4] He received the 1986 Winsor McCay Award from the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, for his lifetime contributions to the field of animation.

Spence married Alice Amelia Hossfeld in a Latter Day Saints ceremony on January 15, 1931.[5] He was managing a Standard Oil station in Compton, California at the time. They had one daughter. Alice died in 1984 and Spence remarried.[6] Spence died of a heart attack on September 21, 1995, in Dallas, Texas.


  1. ^ AllMovie
  2. ^ Daily Variety, August 30, 1956, pg. 3
  3. ^ Daily Variety, Sept. 27, 1963, pg. 20
  4. ^ Daily Variety, January 27, 1969
  5. ^ California County Marriage certificate
  6. ^ Living Life Inside the Lines, by Martha Sigall, University Press of Mississippi, 2005

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